Posts tagged with "Monuments":

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The New Museum’s 2018 Triennial tackles entrenched urban power

At the New Museum’s fourth triennial launched earlier last week in Manhattan, Songs for Sabotage, emerging artists were given a chance to address the entrenched power structures found in cities and our social superstructures. Thirty artists from nineteen countries put forth calls for public action and political engagement, across every medium. Attempting to reconcile art and politics is never a pretty process, and Songs for Sabotage puts that disparity front and center. The public views images of ruling class-based propaganda on a daily basis, whether they’re posters, movies, or public sculptures; the artists of Songs for Sabotage have presented their vision of an internationalist counter-narrative, using the same forms of media. The broad prompt has resulted in a show with art in a wide variety of styles and media on display. Daniela Ortiz has waded into the debate over polarizing historical monuments with replacement proposals for controversial statues, using ceramic sculptures that emphasize the place of native peoples in America’s history. Columbus (Colón) shows a beheaded version of the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle, while her other proposals depict oppressed peoples rising above their historical colonizers. Reinterpreting and tweaking the familiar sights of city dwellers is a common scene in Songs for Sabotage. Zhenya Machneva has woven industrial scenes and workshops into massive tapestries, softening these dangerous or harsh built places. Hong Kong-based artist Wong Ping has contributed Wong Ping’s Fables, a series of three videos where bipedal animals and living emoji reenact trivial day-to-day tasks, appended with a nonsensical moral, with each story drawing attention to the difficulties faced by the poor and powerless. The digital and sculptural works are only small pieces of a massive three-floor show, and every work takes the adage that "the medium is the message" to heart. Painting, industrial design, mixed-media pieces and architectural metalworks are abundant throughout, as are commentaries on colonialism and continued narratives of oppression perpetuated through mass media. Songs for Sabotage was curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari, New Museum's Kraus Family Curator, and Alex Gartenfeld, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, with Francesca Altamura, Curatorial Assistant. The show will run from February 13, 2018, through May 27, 2018.
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NYC monuments commission decides to move one statue and contextualize Columbus

Following months of public comments, New York City’s Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers, formed last September by mayor Bill de Blasio, has finished its review. The commission was created as response to the rising fervor around removing contested monuments around the country, as local activists pointed out that New York has its fair share of statues that celebrate problematic historical figures. The most contentious of the monuments under review was the Christopher Columbus statue that anchors the Columbus Circle roundabout on the southwestern corner of Central Park. New York’s Italian-American community slammed the possibility of removing the statue when the commission was first announced, while others decried celebrating a figure whose actions directly led to the killing of native peoples and the seizing of their land. Instead of removing the iconic statue, de Blasio has announced that plaques will go up explaining historical context, as well as the creation of a monument celebrating the achievements of indigenous peoples near Columbus Circle. Citing the “layered legacies” of each of the items under review, the commission’s report recommended a number of changes for several other highly public monuments, which the mayor has already signed off on. The statue of Theodore Roosevelt on horseback in front of the Museum of Natural History, recently doused in red paint by activists, will stay put. Instead, the museum will be offering educational programs on both Roosevelt’s history of conservation as well as his views of colonialism. Additional markers will be installed around the statue to the same effect. The J. Marion Sims statue at 5th Avenue and 103rd Street bordering Central Park was also under deliberation. Known as the “the father of modern gynecology,” Sims’ legacy has come under fire for his well-known experimentation on unanesthetized slaves. Citing the lack of contextual relevance for the statue’s current site the commission voted to relocate it to Green-Wood cemetery, where Sims is buried. While the original pedestal will remain in place in East Harlem, a plaque will be installed that discusses the issues Sims’ legacy raises. Finally, a marker for Marshal Philippe Pétain has been left in place on Lower Broadway’s “Canyon of Heroes”, which denoted a stretch from the Battery to City Hall where ticker-tape parades are typically held. The marker was installed in 2004, when the Downtown Alliance installed a series of 206 granite markers along the avenue, each representing a ticker-tape parade that had been held on Broadway. The Frenchman had been hailed as hero after returning from WWI and honored with a parade in New York, but later became a top figure in the collaborative Vichy government during WWII. In light of his eventual conviction for treason, the commission recommended installing signage that would re-contextualize the markers, as well as stripping the “Canyon of Heroes” name from Lower Broadway. The committee’s full report is the culmination of months of public hearings and thousands of public comments.
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Minnesota city reneges on Satanic monument in public park

After some back-and-forth, a Minnesota city has revoked permission for a monument to Satan in a public park. Belle Plaine officials nixed a permit for the monument, which was slated for a dedicated free speech zone in the city's Veterans Memorial Park. Officials sanctioned the area for free expression after residents complained about a statue of a kneeling soldier and a cross, a symbol some said violated the separation of church and state. In response, the Salem, Massachusetts–based Satanic Temple commissioned Albuquerque artist Chris Andres to design the memorial, which features an upside-down helmet atop a black cube etched with pentagrams. The piece is supposed to honor veterans who do not identify with any religion. The city approved the design, and agreed to help with installation. The sculpture, which was custom-designed to comply with city rules, would have been the nation's first Satanic monument on public property. The StarTribune reported the Satanists are seeking $35,000 in damages to cover the commission it paid to Andres for his work. Satanic Temple attorney Martin Flax claimed that Belle Plaine breached a contract and infringed on the temple's First Amendment rights. The city's counsel disputes this interpretation. After a series of protests and counter-protests, the monument wasn't allowed to go up at all, and the cross on the still-standing veteran's memorial has been removed. “We’re going to have a very difficult time finding another use for this,” temple co-founder Doug Mesner told the StarTribune. “It’s all at our loss.”
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The town hall as democratic monument: a manifesto

What town halls are—their names, their forms, their programs—and the way they relate to the public and the city have changed dramatically over the centuries. Each new incarnation evolves from the last, building up a rich legacy full of successes and lessons that can be brought forward into future manifestations.

In Britain, the 1800s were an era of dramatic change, tumultuous growth, vigor, and pride for British cities, all anchored and guided by the Victorian Town Hall. The typology’s eloquent facades spoke of civic pride, communal purpose, economic strength, and artistic verve. Their interiors contained multipurpose halls, whose size and opulence made Buckingham Palace seem twee and quaint.

After World War II, in a national equivalent of the pioneering reforms of the great liberal mayors of the 19th century, gone were the vast republican Roman temples competing with the beautiful behemoths of British neo-baroque, the people-palaces of competing virtual city-states. In their place came modernity and a corresponding universal design language that spoke of a shared future and universal values.

As globalization, deregulation, and the European dreams reached their respective zeniths in the 2000s under New Labour (with a similar zeitgeist in the United States), architecture once again took on a starring role in the perpetual transformation of our cities. Private capital mingled with state funding to deliver colorful new spaces that mixed consumption and education, profit and provision, in an apotheosis of a historical compromise between society and the market.

We are living through what is perceived to be one of our democracy’s most intense crises in generations, which means it is in fact the perfect moment to build monuments to its rebirth. In crisis lies the greatest opportunity for reinvention. In each island of progress may there rise democratic monuments of symbolic sustenance and practical pageantry, for our sprawling cities, for our expanding towns, for the many and for the few; beauty, but for everyone.

It is time for the town hall as a democratic monument: architectural plurality in compositional unity. Architecture can be eloquent, and in using color and richly saturated materials, we can create buildings that embody us, our collective dreams, and our sense of communal identity. A democratic monument’s public face is proposed to be a large civic facade, designed in a contemporary manner, but echoing older structures—such as our Gothic Cathedrals—in its forthright form and ornamental exuberance. Encrusted in richly colored and patterned tiles, manufactured using the latest digital ceramic technologies, and designed by local artists, it presents a proud, joyfully new beacon of confidence to its city.

The next incarnation of the town hall is to be a monumental embodiment of our evolving liberal democracy as it moves into another new phase of energetic activity and robust invention. One in which architectural language and expression can both embody and reconcile the perpetual tensions between market and state, and minority and majority. One in which a fragmenting society and a diffuse urban realm are given new symbolic anchors that neither ignore the deep veins of difference, nor impose an arbitrary uniformity, but celebrate the constant tensions, debates, and engagement that keep any one aspect of society from eclipsing the others.

Council leaders and mayors will time-share the same halls of state with LGBT groups, unions, trade bodies, music festivals, and faith events, all within interiors that make the shopping centers of a generation before seem dull and meaningless.

Civic interiors in which durable, permanent, chromatically vivid decoration will be brought back into public architecture. The bright nothingness of white paint and aluminum panels will no longer be the default non-color, but rather all the hues we love so much in nature and art will be deployed to once again fill our city halls and collective interiors. Digital decal ceramic printing of large decorative schemes will fill entire volumes in combination with varied translucent glazes, will create rooms that glitter and glow. 

The glazed tiles will reflect the changing weather outside and the activities inside, suffusing the internal atmosphere with a strong and distinct sense of place, a potent color-filled “somewhere,” rather than a white “anywhere.” Expensive marbles will be placed next to pink and baby blue terrazzo, as well as next to cheap, but robust, laminates in lemon yellow and orange, green plastics and lavender powder-coated steel, while glazed tiles will meet ochre travertine and puce anodized aluminum.

It is vision of public space that uplifts and embraces through ornament, materials, and color.

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NYC announces commission to review public monuments

Today Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed the members of a hotly-anticipated commission to review the city's public monuments for "symbols of hate" amid a national climate of elevated bigotry and ascendent white nationalism. The commission, officially dubbed the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers, will have three months to develop new guidelines for how the city addresses monuments perceived as "oppressive" and "inconsistent" with the city's values. These values are not strictly codified, but the Mayor's speechifying on monuments issue over the past month suggests they align with liberal ideals of tolerance, fairness, and equity. The 18-person commission is co-chaired by Tom Finkelpearl, the commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation. Its members include experts in law, public art, diversity, and preservation, and LGBT issues, as well as two architects: Mabel O. Wilson, a scholar of race and memory and an associate professor of architecture at Columbia GSAPP, and Michael Arad, the designer of the World Trade Center Memorial. Four city agencies—including the Public Design Commission, which reviews and approves public art—are ex officio members of the commission. Additional members may be announced before the first meeting. In addition to providing general recommendations on city-owned statues, it will review a few hot-button monuments, most likely starting with the J. Marion Sims statue in Harlem near Central Park and Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle. Both works have drawn strong condemnation from anti-racist protestors in recent weeks. “I'm confident that this process will produce a conversation capable of examining our public art through the accurate, contextual historical lens that it deserves," said Mayor de Blasio, in a prepared statement. As the Mayor found out personally a few weeks ago, this is not an easy task. When he announced the commission, de Blasio, who has Italian heritage, said he was not necessarily opposed to removing Columbus. This statement provoked the ire of some Italian-Americans New Yorkers who view Columbus as a national hero. In light of the hot political climate (it's an election year, after all), the commission is moving fast to issue recommendations for the city's public works, as well as draft policies the city could advance to live up to its values. The group will put out its findings by the end of the year, but before then, the public can weigh in on the controversial monuments through DCA's website (link forthcoming). Across the country, cities are re-evaluating their approach to public commemoration. In the dead of night last month, Baltimore and New Orleans removed their Confederate statues in light of the Charlottesville, Virginia white supremacist rally to save that city's Confederate monuments. That day, a rally participant drove his car through a group of counter-protestors, injuring 19 and killing one.
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What Baltimore can teach us about the future of public monuments

With little fanfare, under the cover of night, the City of Baltimore took down four Confederate monuments last week. The removals may be read as a response to the violence in Charlottesville, but the city's decision marks a decisive new chapter in public commemoration, one that goes much deeper than the nightly news.  The monuments depicted Confederate soldiers, generals, (white) women of the South, and one Supreme Court justice best known for his role in the Dred Scott decision. The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument (1903) and the Confederate Women's Monument (1917) were both put up by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, while the Lee-Jackson Monument was erected in 1948 by the Baltimore Municipal Arts Society with $100,000 from a 1928 bequest by local business executive J. Harry Ferguson. The statue of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney was given to Baltimore in 1887 by William T. Walters, who commissioned a copy of an 1871 statue of Taney on the Maryland State House grounds. Since last Wednesday, all four bronze monuments have been sitting in an city storage yard under cover of blue plastic tarps. For the past week, curious neighbors, activists, and news crews have toured the four empty stone plinths full of questions about the past and the future. How did these monuments end up here? How did the monuments affect Baltimore while they stood, and what do we do now that they're gone? It might seem odd to see Confederate monuments in Baltimore when Maryland remained part of the Union throughout the Civil War. Thousands of Marylanders fought for the Confederacy but thousands more fought for the Union, including over 8,700 black men in six Maryland regiments of U.S. Colored Troops. But slavery was still legal in Maryland until nearly the end of the war, when the state passed a new constitution in 1864. Former Confederates and their allies quickly returned to political power. Maryland did not ratify the 14th Amendment and 15th Amendment to the Constitution (what one historian called his "favorite Civil War era monuments") until well after they came into effect: 1959 (for the 14th) and 1973 (for the 15th). Across the country, efforts to remember the Civil War first appeared in cemeteries. Between 1865 and 1885, 90 percent of Confederate monuments contained some form of funerary design and a majority (70 percent) stood in cemeteries. (Confederate monuments still stand in southwest Baltimore's Loudon Park Cemetery. That all changed after the end of Reconstruction. When the federal government retreated from protecting black voters from the growing threat of violence by white neighbors in the 1870s, most monuments were stripped of their funereal designs and semi-public settings and moved decisively into the town square. Between 1885 and 1899, only 40 percent of new monuments used funerary designs, and towns increasingly chose to locate monuments in public places (like streets and courthouse lawns). From 1900 to 1912, the nation witnessed the erection of 60 percent of all Confederate monuments built before World War I. Of those, only 25 percent used funerary design and 85 percent were located in public areas. This dramatic move—from private sites of mourning to public sites of celebration and honor—reflects the success of a ''reconciliationist'' memory of the Civil War that focused on the bravery of soldiers and generals while avoiding any discussion of slavery or the unfinished work of emancipation. In the last chapter of Black Reconstruction in America, W.E.B. Du Bois noted the role historians at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore had played in rewriting the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction around themes of "endless sympathy with the white south" and "ridicule, contempt or silence for the Negro." In his landmark 2001 book, Race and Reunion, historian David Blight observed that "[a] segregated society, demanded a segregated historical memory."  The white supremacist politics that accompanied the rise of "Lost Cause" memory make it impossible to avoid comparing monuments to other strategies designed to exclude African Americans from urban space. During the same period white Baltimoreans put up Confederate monuments, the city enacted the nation's first racial segregation ordinance in 1910 and, in the wake of the ordinance's legal defeat, white residents created a patchwork of racially restrictive housing covenants. The Confederate Women's Monument was located in Bishop's Square Park near the southern entrance to Guilford, an exclusive suburban enclave established in 1913 and developed by a company that pioneered the use of racially restrictive covenants. It is important to remember, however, that the context for Baltimore's Confederate monuments (and the new empty plinths) is more than just the social history of racism and the "Lost Cause." Whether they stand in a private cemetery or on a public street, the meanings of monuments are shaped by the surrounding physical context. All of Baltimore's monuments have seen radical changes over the decades including the physical relocation, the demolition of surrounding buildings, and the reconfiguration of street grids. The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument once sat in the center of Mount Royal Avenue, flanked on both sides by Victorian rowhouses, until the rowhouses were cleared away and the road dramatically widened for the construction of I-83. In 1959, construction of ramps for I-83 forced the Union Soldiers and Sailors Monument to move to the southeastern corner of Wyman Park Dell. The new site may even have been selected to provide "balance" to the Lee-Jackson Monument located on opposite side of the park. The map below depicts the present-day location of two of the four monuments in Baltimore: The way people use the urban landscapes surrounding the monuments has also evolved. When Baltimore's Confederate monuments were built, the people who sought permission for their installation, raised money for their design and production, and planned the dedication ceremonies often lived nearby. They wanted their neighbors to see the structures—whether their neighbors wanted to see them or not. In 1887, the statue of infamous Chief Justice Roger B. Taney was just a few hundred feet from the home of the statue's donor, William T. Walters at 5 West Mount Vernon Place—one of the the dozens of large townhouses facing on the four squares that surround the Washington Monument. But, by 1890, the neighbors also included over 11,000 African Americans living in the city's 11th Ward, which began just one block west of the park. Around the turn of the century, hundreds of Confederate veterans gathered around Mount Vernon Place to march up to Mount Royal Avenue for the dedication of the Confederate Soldiers Monument. Residents on or near the route included the former home of Confederate General Lawrason Riggs (where his widow flew a Confederate flag from the window as the parade went past) and Confederate officer McHenry Howard who spoke at the ceremony. But less than 100 years later, the center of Confederate memory had moved to the suburbs. The Baltimore chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans was re-established there in 1981, and a city that once welcomed celebrations of Confederate memory slowly began to turn against it. Since the 1950s, Confederate groups had organized an annual celebration for Robert E. Lee's birthday at the Lee-Jackson Monument. Celebrating Lee's birthday on the third Monday in January took on a new meaning after the federal government adopted Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national holiday in the 1980s. In 2008, Johns Hopkins refused to rent the group the meeting hall they had used for years. Four years later, members of the Homewood Quaker Meeting House, located just a five-minute walk from the statue, began organizing a silent vigil calling on the group to "Change the Date." In June 2015, protestors used the Lee-Jackson Monument as the backdrop for a press conference calling on then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to remove Baltimore's Confederate Monuments and the Taney statue. Community members gathered there again on Sunday, August 13, a day after activist Heather Heyer's death, for a rally and march in solidarity with Charlottesville. The speakers called on Mayor Catherine Pugh to take down the city's Confederate monuments. When activist group Baltimore BLOC called for direct action to take down the Lee-Jackson Monument (#DoItLikeDurham), the city responded quickly. A little over twelve hours later, all four monuments had been taken down. What monuments or statues best represent the city today is still to be determined, but these four monuments will surely be remembered long after they were taken down. As some Baltimore’s own Frederick Douglass remarked in 1884: "It is not well to forget the past. Memory was given to man for some wise purpose. The past is … the mirror in which we may discern the dim outlines of the future."
Eli Pousson is the director of preservation & outreach at Baltimore Heritage where his work includes the Explore Baltimore Heritage website and app, as well as ongoing research about Baltimore's civil rights heritage. Pousson wrote this piece as an individual and not on behalf of Baltimore Heritage.
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Designers, here’s your chance to shape public space in Charlottesville, Virginia

This past week, white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from a downtown park. As multiple news sources reported, the rally's violence culminated in chilling brutality when protestor James Fields rammed his car through a crowd of counter-demonstrators on a nearby pedestrian mall, injuring 19 and killing one. It's beyond question that the far right gathered on Saturday to spread hate in a public space. It just so happens, too, that this latest domestic terrorist attack coincides with the city's in-motion plans to redesign two main public parks—including the one with the Lee statue—around justice and equity. Back in June, the city issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop a master plan that enhances the connection between Justice Park and Emancipation Park, as well as the parks themselves. Located two blocks away from each other, the two parks, formerly named for Confederate General Stonewall Jackson and Lee,* respectively, were sites of this weekend's protests. Among other changes, the city would like to develop better gathering spaces in both parks and memorialize former slaves in Justice Park. To prepare a design, the document asks participating firms to get acquainted with MASS Design Group's Memorial to Peace and Justice, a project in Montgomery, Alabama to honor victims of lynching. The RFP grew out of a report released in August of last year by the Blue Ribbon Commission, a group city officials convened to address race and representation in the city's public spaces. With statues of Confederate generals and a slave auction block in parks, as well as the preserved Reconstruction-era Freedmen’s Bureau, the commission's final report "[acknowledged] that far too often Charlottesville’s public spaces and histories have ignored, silenced or suppressed African American history, as well as the legacy of white supremacy and the unimaginable harms done under that cause." The chosen designer is expected to engage with the community extensively. In Charlottesville, city officials imagine that public history for the 21st century may be illuminated with new art, placemaking initiatives, and wayfinding. Interested? The deadline is approaching fast: Submissions are due this Thursday, August 17. *The park's renaming is in process, pending a court decision later this month.
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Find every public art installation and monument in NYC with this interactive map

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has launched an interactive database of the 1000+ monuments, public artworks, and temporary installations across the city's five boroughs. The NYC Public Art Map and Guide is searchable by ZIP Code and address, and provides photos and basic information about each monument. These range from the iconic and instantly recognizable (like the Charging Bull statue on Wall Street) to the otherwise overlooked (a plaque in City Hall Park near The Architect's Newspaper's Tribeca offices commemorates an oak tree given as a gift from Canada on Arbor Day 1967). While the map is densely populated in Manhattan—Central Park especially is peppered with monuments and sculptures—residents of the outer boroughs may not know they live a few blocks away from a public art piece. A tiny patch of land at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Dean Street in Brooklyn, for example, holds a 30-foot-tall pedestal and statue of Ulysses S. Grant. McCarren Park in Brooklyn will be the site of a public art piece not yet listed on the map. The city recently announced that the McCarren Play Center, which includes the iconic pool opened by Fiorello La Guardia and Robert Moses in 1936, will receive two new murals. Documents released by the NYC Percent for Art Program show that the original schematics called for artwork at the location, but none was ever installed. The murals will be the work of artist Mary Temple. The map may be a useful tie-in for budding gamers playing Pokémon GO, the interactive mobile game that's currently taking the world by storm. The Pokémon GO "augmented reality" app uses real-life locations as its playing fields and points of interest often correspond with monuments and public artworks. Perhaps the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation is the latest group trying to ride the Pokémon GO wave?
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3D projection technology fleetingly brings back the Bamiyan Buddha that was destroyed by the Taliban

The hollow in the sandstone cliffs of Bamiyan, central Afghanistan, still harks back to the looming Bamiyan Buddha statues that once emerged from the cliff-face, before they were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. A Chinese couple has created 3D projection technology to holographically recreate the destroyed statues which, standing at 180 feet and 120 feet respectively, lorded over the Bamiyan valley for 1500 years. https://twitter.com/alibomaye/status/607259092265148416/photo/1 Representing the classic style of Gandhara art, the monuments withstood the armies of Genghis Khan and the introduction of Islam to the region, as well as multiple artillery rounds by the Taliban, which eventually deferred to explosives when their firing failed to make a dent. “These idols have been the gods of infidels,” Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar reportedly declared in marking the statues for destruction. In 2005, Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata proposed a laser show system to recreate the Buddhas, but the project was never implemented. On display for two days in June, the holograms were cast from projectors mounted on scaffolding, the work of a Chinese couple who are traveling the world to film a documentary. Moved by the legacy of the statues and their destruction, they decided to add Bamiyan to their itinerary and provide the projection as a gift from the people of China to the Afghan people.
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Beneath this 200 year old monument to George Washington, a time capsule filled with 3D printed scans will send messages to the future

What do you put in a 21st century time capsule inside the cornerstone of a 19th century landmark that’s undergoing restoration? If the landmark is the nation’s first monument to George Washington, you put in a 3D printed likeness of the first president, hot off the 3D printer, of course. That’s the idea behind the four shiny objects that will be sealed within an 1815-era cornerstone and placed below the base of the Washington Monument in Baltimore, Maryland, home of the aforementioned first monument to Washington. The city-owned monument, designed by Robert Mills as a centerpiece for Mount Vernon Place, is undergoing a $5.5 million restoration that’s nearing completion. Planners say this is one of the first instances, to their knowledge, of 3D-printed objects being placed in the cornerstone of a restored monument for future generations to discover—and the objects actually mirror elements of the monument itself. “It’s a twist on history,” said Lance Humphries, an architectural historian who serves as chairman of the monument restoration committee of the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy, a nonprofit group that’s working with the city to restore Baltimore’s Washington Monument and improve the public squares around it. “We like the idea of using this 3D technology as a way of leaving a record for the future… It’s incredible technology.” The restoration work will be complete and the monument will reopen to the public on July 4, 2015, exactly 200 years after the cornerstone was laid to signal the start of construction. It has been closed for repairs since 2010. The four objects, displayed publicly for the first time during a media event Sunday, April 12, include a mini bust of Washington, a mini statue, a mask-like reproduction of the face on Washington’s statue, and a life sized replica of one of his hands, holding a scroll. All four objects were made with 3D scanning and printing technology by Maryland based companies whose principals specialize in the process and wanted to apply it to historic preservation. Noting that time capsules and cornerstones often contain newspapers from the day they were sealed, Humphries said 3D printing is essentially a 21st century way to impart information that was previously conveyed in print form. He said the conservancy’s goal, in placing miniature replicas depicting pieces of the statue inside the cornerstone, was to leave behind information that could tell future preservationists about the statue’s condition after 200 years. “These 3D images will show the future the condition of the statue in 2015,” he explained. “We don’t know when they will be found, but when they are, they will help future generations understand how the statue appeared during the monument’s bicentennial year.” Unlike Robert Mills’ Washington Monument in the nation’s Capitol, which is a marble clad obelisk, Baltimore’s 178-foot-tall monument is a classical Doric column atop a stone base, with a larger-than-life statue of Washington at the top. The standing figure, by Italian sculptor Enrico Causici, depicts Washington resigning his commission as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in 1783. For years, visitors could climb to the top of the Baltimore monument and enjoy unobstructed views in all directions. But the monument was closed to the public after Humphries, from an outdoor café a block away, noticed imperfections in the stonework near the top of the monument and reported what he saw to city officials. That triggered a chain of events that led to the current repair effort. During the restoration, workers discovered the 1815 cornerstone, with contents from that year, and a second time capsule from 1915. The 1915 time capsule has not been opened but will be soon. The 1815 cornerstone was opened in February. Its contents included newspapers from 1815, glass jars, coins, and a likeness of Washington. As part of activities leading up to the 200th anniversary of the cornerstone laying in July, conservancy members wanted to re-bury the 1815 cornerstone, again with objects that might send a message to future generations. Museum conservators recommended that they not re-bury the fragile artifacts from 1815, to ensure their preservation. That’s when Humphries came up with the idea of turning the 1815 cornerstone into a time capsule containing miniature versions of parts of the Washington statue, made with 3D printing technology. Humphries said he thought it would make sense to include another likeness of Washington, since the cornerstone originally had one, and he thought it would be reflective of the changing times to have the 2015 likeness made with 3D printing. In the early 1800s, he said, “printing was about reading. Now it’s about making something in three dimensions, which is a big change over 200 years.” Humphries said he doesn’t know if any other time capsules or cornerstones have been sealed containing 3D-printed objects, but he isn’t aware of any and hopes this is one of the first cases. He said he thought it would be a good way to give people in the future an idea of the technology available to Americans in 2015. “I’m sure in 3015, they are going to say, ‘That was a really primitive thing they used,’ but that is what we use today. “ While scaffolding was still up around the monument, Washington’s statue was documented with 3D scanning technology by Direct Dimensions of Owings Mills, Maryland. A digital scan was taken to create a record of the statue’s condition in 2015. The same scan was used to print the miniature 3D images of the statue that are going in the cornerstone. The four objects were printed in nylon by NextLine Manufacturing of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Then, to ensure that they would last, the 3D models were electroplated for durability, first in copper and then in nickel, by a Halethorpe company called RePliForm. Although the coatings give the objects a metallic appearance, the figures are relatively light, as if they were made with plastic. Michael Raphael, the founder and chief executive officer of Direct Dimensions, said Baltimore’s collection of objects may be the first of its kind, “a set of miniature replicas of an historical monument enshrined back into the cornerstone for future generations to see.” Raphael said 3D scanning can be a valuable tool in preserving statues and other works of art that are kept outdoors. “We strongly believe that cultural artifacts, especially those exposed to the elements... are among the most important treasures requiring 3-D digital documentation,” he said. “Three dimensional scanning provides a fast, accurate means for permanent documentation and future restoration of cultural artifacts under constant risk of destruction by weather, pollution, or other disasters.” One of the four objects, the hand, is hollow in the middle and will contain a handwritten letter, like a message in a bottle. The letter, written in English, will describe the restoration project and the statue’s condition at the 200-year mark. Whoever finds the four objects, Humphries said, will be able to compare the condition of the statue in 2015 and the condition whenever they next open the cornerstone, showing how much the statue has eroded or otherwise changed over time. In that sense, he said, the 3D images will provide useful information to conservationists of the future. This week, the 1815 cornerstone is scheduled to be placed back in its original underground position with the new objects inside, so work can continue on the restoration. Humphries said the cornerstone might be reopened in 100 years or 1,000 years. “It’s just when the next guy finds it and wants to dig it up again. It was a lot of work.” Humphries added that conservators advised his group not to include newspapers this time because most newspapers printed today are “so acidic” that they might damage other objects stored with them. The monument will reopen during a daylong “Monumental Bicentennial Celebration” that will include a Naturalization Ceremony, a formal ribbon cutting, and a “family friendly” fair. Admission is free. As exhibited Sunday, the mini-statue of Washington is reminiscent of similarly sized replicas of the Statue of Liberty that are sold to tourists in New York City. Conservancy representatives say their organization may eventually fabricate and sell copies of the cornerstone objects as souvenirs, to raise funds for additional phases of restoration work around Mount Vernon Place.
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This Week> Facades+AM Washington Three by Three

With its combination of iconic references to the nation's past and the machinery that drives our political present, Washington, DC presents a particular set of problems and possibilities to facades innovators. Top experts in high-performance building envelope design and construction will this gather this Thursday, March 5, to explore some of these issues during Facades+ AM: Washington Three by Three, a morning seminar taking place at the District Architecture Center. Facades+ AM is a quick-take variation on the popular Facades+ conference series. Over the course of the morning, three panels of three experts and one moderator each will take up questions concerning facade design and construction in the nation's capital. Session one, "Design Opportunities in a Blast Resistant World," moderated by Steve White, president of AIA DC, will consider how innovative designs can flourish despite security restrictions. Washington Post columnist and University of Maryland professor emeritus Roger Lewis will moderate session two, "Innovative Facades Come to Washington," highlighting cutting-edge facades in the DC area. Session three, "The New Face of Monumental Washington," moderated by Washington Architectural Foundation president Janet Bloomberg, will describe the role played high-performance building envelopes in both old and new monuments. Mark Strauss, senior partner at FXFOWLE, and AN's editor-in-chief William Menking will deliver opening and closing remarks. Seats are limited; register today for Facades+AM: Washington Three by Three. For more information, include a detailed agenda, visit the symposium website.
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LEGO Architecture honors the Great Emancipator with a miniature of the Lincoln Memorial

A miniature LEGO model of the Lincoln Memorial has just launched under the LEGO Architecture brand, a “Lego for grownups” product line that celebrates architecture and the chameleon capabilities of the LEGO brick. Featuring recreations of landmark buildings such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Sydney Opera House and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the latest set honors the memorial completed in May 30, 1922 in homage to the 16th president of the United States. The final cost of the memorial approached $3 million, although just $2 million had been initially allocated. Despite not being immediately apparent to the naked eye, the building’s columns and exterior walls are slightly inclined toward the interior to compensate for visual perspective distortions that would make the building appear to bulge at the top. Honoring the 57th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, the memorial designed by Henry Bacon resembles a Greek temple, with 36 fluted Doric columns to represent the number of recognized states at the time of Lincoln's death. Visible from the outside is the famous oversize statue by Daniel Chester French, with Lincoln’s left hand clenched to symbolize strength and determination and his right palm open in a show of charity and compassion. While the LEGO model measures a mere two inches tall, 4 inches wide, and 3 inches deep, it has an easily removable roof for viewing the statue inside. Aspiring towards a true-to-life remake, the model includes the steps leading up to the building from the reflecting pool. The set includes a sorely-needed plastic brick separator for detaching those notoriously clingy flat bricks, as well as a 65-page instruction manual.